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Microsoft Reveals Tablet Hardware Specs For Windows 8

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Microsoft has listed the minimum hardware requirements for the Windows 8 operating system if it is to run on tablets

Microsoft has listed a fairly strict set of hardware requirements for tablets that are to run the Windows 8 operating system. This comes after Redmond also listed the hardware requirements for Windows Phone devices.

Windows 8 is designed to run on both tablets and PCs, and according to a rather voluminous document (“Windows Hardware Certification Requirements”) posted on a Microsoft website, it will have its own set of minimum hardware requirements.

Hardware Requirements

Those requirements include at least 10GB of free space, WLAN and Bluetooth 4.0 + LTE for networking, minimum 1366-by-768 screen resolution, at least one USB 2.0 controller and exposed port, a 720p camera, and a combination of gyroscope, three-axis accelerometer, and magnetometer.

“These systems are primarily focused on consumption scenarios such as Web browsing, media, and casual gaming,” reads an accompanying note. “It is likely that this form factor will also emerge in the enterprise as a productivity PC.” In light of that, “These systems are optimized for consumption and light productivity. Requirements are based on these usage patterns.”

The document also defines a “convertible form factor” as a PC that transforms into a tablet once input devices such as keyboard and mouse (“pointing device”) are removed.

On his Within Windows blog (not affiliated with Microsoft), Rafael Rivera delved further into Windows 8 requirements and found some other points of note, including that the company will require devices to support a minimum of five touch points (in other words, the whole hand) and feature exactly five hardware buttons – power, rotation lock, Windows key, volume up, and volume down. Pressing the Windows key plus power will be the tablet equivalent of Ctrl+Alt+Del.

Those Windows 8 tablets built atop ARM architecture apparently won’t need to come alive and resume in two seconds or less, unlike their Intel-compatible cousins. “I suspect ARM doesn’t come with this requirement because of architecture implementation volatility,” Rivera wrote, “or, more likely, that Microsoft simply doesn’t have enough data in this space.”

Windows 8 Arrival

Microsoft used the recently concluded Consumer Electronics Show to reveal still more details about Windows 8, which will likely appear in the second half of 2012.

“People don’t want to compromise on what they have today,” CEO Steve Ballmer told the audience during his keynote, referring to the upcoming operating system’s tablet compatibility. “They want the best of what they have, and the best of what they want.”

Despite Windows’ overwhelming market-share on PCs, Windows 8 will face some significant challenges in the tablet arena, where it faces Apple’s bestselling iPad in addition to a variety of touch-screens running Google Android. Those rivals will surely battle to prevent Windows from gaining traction among tablet users.